Extra charges planned for residential developments are going to make living in Surrey all the more expensive, says one city councillor.
The draft five-year financial plan for Surrey calls for increases in the development cost charges by up to $4,000 a unit and as much as $40 a square foot to pay for bonus densities (more homes per acre).
Coun. Linda Annis said those extra costs will be passed directly to the purchasers of homes.
“The real kicker is that these increases, which are going to be passed right along to buyers, have nothing to do with good urban planning or increased community amenities,” Annis said in a release Tuesday. “Instead, they are all about financing the mayor’s proposed new police department. Consequently, these added costs are going to make Surrey less affordable for families.”
Affordability has become a key issue among people in this city, she says, and this goes contrary to that concern.
“In addition, Surrey taxpayers can forget about city infrastructure, new ice rinks or pools, or adding more police or firefighters. Absolutely everything in this draft budget is about making it possible to pay for the mayor’s proposed police department, at tremendous cost to everything else in our city,” Annis said.
“The SPD (Surrey Police Department) has become this giant black hole and we’re shoveling more and more money into it every single week,” Annis said. “At the same time, the numbers around the transition aren’t to be believed because no one at city hall can speak with any authority about their validity.”
Annis said the budget will increase housing costs while it kills plans for community centres, parks, pools, rinks, road maintenance and much-needed police and firefighters.
“This budget is saying very clearly that as a city we’re going to cost you more and give you less,” added Annis. “The mayor and his four supporters on council have nothing on their radar screen but the SPD and this budget is simply about making sure every dollar we have goes to the cost of transitioning to a new police department.”
The public has an opportunity to speak on the planned budget at 2 p.m. Monday (Dec. 2) at city hall.